Maryland’s Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground And Trail
Receives National Recognition
Rejuvenated trail is favorite spot along historic Appalachian Trail
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Maryland’s popular Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground and Trail was recently recognized by Department of the Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton. The 1-mile backcountry loop trail was added to the National Recreation Trails System; one of twenty-seven trails in fifteen states that were added to the National Recreation Trails system on National Trails Day.
The Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground and Trail is located in South Mountain State Park and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and rock climbing. This camping area was formerly known as the worst campground along the Appalachian Trail. It had been damaged because of heavy use; vegetation was sparse, remnants of past fires rendered the soil sterile for any new growth, and dead and downed trees had been cut up for firewood, leaving only small live saplings threatened. But due to efforts of several groups, including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources State Forest and Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conference, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the area has been cleaned up and rejuvenated. Through their efforts, new camping facilities and restrictions now protect this fragile backcountry area, enhancing the wilderness experience for day hikers and backpackers.
“It is a great honor for a site like Annapolis Rock that was at one time literally being loved to death,” said State Forest and Park Service Superintendent Col. Richard P. Barton. “We thank the National Park Service for recognizing our hard work and are grateful to all of the parties involved in restoring this wonderful natural treasure back to its original, if not an improved, condition.”
Interior Secretary Norton made the announcement at the Get Fit With US celebration held in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event highlighted the successes of the President George Bush’s HealthierUS initiative, which encourages Americans to recreate on public lands and waters to live better, longer lives.
"Our efforts to promote trails for health and recreation are part of a larger partnership initiated by President Bush," Secretary Norton said. “These partnerships are using the vast interconnected outdoor recreation network of federal, state and local lands and waters as a resource that can help provide inexpensive, enjoyable exercise for all Americans.”
The National Recreation Trails System is a network of 920 trails created to provide for outdoor recreation needs, promote the enjoyment, appreciation and preservation of open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources and encourage public access and citizen involvement. The system is administered by the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service with support from the lead nonprofit partner, American Trails. Approximately 982 miles of trail were added to the trails system today.
“What better way to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle than to set aside wonderful trails near their homes where they can enjoy nature or uncover local history,” said Fran Mainella, Director of the National Park Service. “We’re pleased to work in cooperation with state, local, and private interests to make these opportunities available to the American public.”
In order to be nominated for designation as part of the National Recreation Trails System, a trail must be open to public use for at least 10 years after designation and must be designed, constructed and maintained according to best management practices and in compliance with applicable land use plans and environmental laws. NRT designation must also be supported by the landowners whose property the trail crosses.
For more information about Annapolis Rock and all of Maryland’s state forests and parks, visit DNR Online at www.dnr.maryland.gov
Posted June 15, 2004